The development of difference: social change around the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine, Papua New Guinea

Paul Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The research presented here is based on one-month of fieldwork, during which forty-twointerviews were conducted in and around Tabubil in Papua New Guinea's WesternProvince. I argue that non-renewable resource extraction creates particular forms ofinequality in Papua New Guinea, based on the legal status of customary landownership, anemerging class system associated with a form of nationalism which draws on imagery of ageneric notion of kastom, and the need for mining companies and the state to identifyclearly (geographically and territorially) bounded landowning groups as the recipients ofroyalty and compensation payments. While local actors may be deeply concerned aboutthe prospects for continued access to morally and materially desirable forms ofdevelopment following mine closure, elites working for Ok Tedi Mining Limited valorisekastom and ‘village life' in such a way that they at times refuse to frame the inevitableclosure of the mine as a problem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-114
Number of pages54
JournalDurham Anthropology Journal
Volume18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012

Bibliographical note

© 2012 Paul Gilbert

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